Mainchain like-for-like sales fell by 4.4 per cent during the period, the retailer's AGM statement disclosed. However, excluding entertainment products, like-for-like sales decreased just 0.3 per cent. This was in contrast to the retailer's Entertainment UK third-party supply business, which boosted sales by 8.7 per cent by supplying the same sort of products to other retailers.
Woolies said it had reacted to the drop in sales by reallocating space in stores to support products with higher profit densities and by continuing its store refurbishment programme, which has so far achieved sales targets. The 10/10 format will be extended to 50 stores this year.
Woolworths chairman Gerald Corbett said: 'We anticipate that the retail environment will continue to be challenging and against that background, the board's focus will remain on controlling costs and stock, generating cash and taking action to improve the group's business.